Biden To Release Medicine From Stockpile Amid Severe Early Flu Season

December 22, 2022

The Biden Administration said Wednesday it would release doses of the prescription flu medicine Tamiflu from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) amid an earlier and more severe than usual influenza season. 

Already this season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the flu has resulted in 150,000 hospitalizations and 9,300 deaths. 

Pharmacies and grocery stores, meanwhile, have reported spikes in sales of over-the-counter medications—to the point where giants CVS and Walgreens have had to limit purchases of children’s pain relief meds.

Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response regional teams will work with jurisdictions to evaluate any requests for Tamiflu. States that have run out of Tamiflu in their stockpiles can also request more from the SNS.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not currently list Tamiflu as being in shortage. However, pharmacists and consumers have reported difficulty finding generic Tamiflu, or oseltamivir, in some areas.

Some generic versions of brand-name Tamiflu are listed as being in shortage in the database maintained by the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists (ASHP). The ASHP database takes reports of shortages from the public and they’re then verified by pharmacists.

The SNS is a large store of certain supplies, medicines and devices that can be utilized in the event of a medical emergency. For example, antiviral medications were released from the SNS more than a decade ago during the H1N1, or swine flu, pandemic.

Tamiflu can be prescribed to treat flu in people over the age of 2 weeks old.

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